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Friday, February 27, 2009

A better looking bank bailout: hire women

From Nicholas Kristof:
Wall Street is one of the most male-dominated bastions in the business world; senior staff meetings resemble a urologist’s waiting room. Aside from issues of fairness, there’s evidence that the result is second-rate decision-making...

One of the shortcomings of any system of men sitting in front of screens making financial bets was reported last year in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, in case you missed your copy. That study found that men are particularly likely to make high-risk bets when under financial pressure and surrounded by other males of similar status.

As for women, their risk-taking was unaffected by this kind of peer pressure...

I’m skeptical of any effort to force banks to accept more women (one woman on the board for every $100 million handout?). But looking at the evidence of how homogeneous groups go astray, let’s all hope that banks seek a little more diversity on their own — just as desperately as they’re seeking bailouts.

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